Lavender is such a unique, calming scent. We planted three small lavender bushes in our garden last summer and it has been nice to catch a whiff of the flowers on the air when the wind catches them just right. 80% of a dish’s flavor comes from its scent, so I thought it would be fun to make some lavender flavored cupcakes. When doled out with a heavy hand, the flavor of lavender can be overwhelming; fortunately, these cupcakes offer a delicate whiff of the flavor, just like the scent of flowers on the wind.
Even if lavender isn’t your favorite flavor, it is balanced in these cupcakes by a lemon curd filling. The bright, citrusy tang cuts down on the floral notes to create a bright treat. The taste of these cupcakes is like the scent of a garden on a dewy spring morning – fresh and glistening, with a hint of floral softness.Jump to Recipe
This recipe has quite a few steps, but you can easily accomplish them all in one afternoon. The biggest factor to keep in mind is cooling time. You will be making three components: the cupcakes, a lemon curd filling, and a purple vanilla buttercream icing. All need to be room temperature or colder when you assemble the cupcakes — otherwise your icing is likely to melt. However, if you time things right, it can be easy to prepare all of the components in an afternoon and have these ready for an evening party. If you don’t have an entire afternoon to dedicate to cupcakes, both the lemon curd and the buttercream icing can be made the day before.
Start by making your lemon curd – this will take the longest to cool. I usually make a large batch (from this recipe) a few days in advance, as it’s nice to have around. Melt your butter in a medium-sized, microwave safe bowl. (Pyrex is very nice for this.) Whisk in sugar before beating in eggs, one at a time. Add remaining ingredients and microwave at 1-minute intervals (usually about 3-4 minutes total) until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Chill until cold.
Next, prepare your cupcakes. The secret to their light floral flavor? Culinary lavender. You can find it at various places online; I purchased mine at a local Amish grocery, though it’s also available at our local farmer’s market during summer months.
Combine milk and lavender buds in a blender or food processor. Blend until the buds have broken down; 3-4 two-second pulses should be sufficient. Set aside and allow the buds to steep in your milk while you gather the rest of the ingredients. (The blending process should have sufficiently broken down the buds, but if they they still bother you, you are welcome to strain them out using cheesecloth before adding the lavender milk to your cupcakes.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a cupcake tin with your favorite baking cups. Sift together your flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla bean paste. Beat in eggs one at a time. Slowly mix in dry ingredients before adding your lavender milk. Beat this mixture until just incorporated; do not overmix.
Pour batter into your cupcake liners until each is 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.
While your cupcakes are cooling, prepare your buttercream icing. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and vanilla. Slowly mix in powdered sugar. Use your favorite food coloring to tint it your desired hue. If you seek a purple hue and are using Wilton primary color gel food coloring, squeeze an even mix of red and blue until you have achieved the desired color. (I didn’t have time to order perfect purple food coloring before prepping these cupcakes; the red/blue mixing – while tedious – ended up working fine, but a direct infusion of the desired hue would be much simpler.)
Once your cupcakes have cooled completely, you are ready to assemble them! Cut a 1/2″ to 1″ deep hole into the center of each cupcake. (You could also use a fancy cupcake corer device, if you have one on hand.) Place lemon curd into a pastry bag or Ziplock equipped with a piping tip. Pipe filling into the center of each cupcake.
If desired, replace the top of the each cupcake once it is filled. Pipe icing atop your filled cupcakes. Once you have decorated each cupcake, they are ready to slice and serve!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you try it at home, please tag @WhiskAverseBaking on social media, or leave a message in the comments below.
Lemon Lavender Cupcakes
- 3/4 cup sugar
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter melted
- ⅔ cup lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 teaspoons lemon zest optional
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender buds
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- Red and blue Wilton food coloring
- Melt butter in a medium-sized, microwave safe bowl. Whisk in sugar before beating in eggs, one at a time. Add remaining ingredients and microwave at 1-minute intervals (usually about 3 minutes total) until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Chill until cold.
- Combine milk and lavender buds in a blender or food processor. Macerate together, until the buds have broken down within the milk. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla bean paste. Beat in eggs one at a time. Slowly mix in dry ingredients, followed by the lavender milk. Beat until just incorporated; do not overmix.
- Fill each cupcake liner ⅔ full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow cupcakes to cool completely.
- Cream together butter and vanilla. Slowly mix in powdered sugar. Squeeze in your red and blue food colorings until you have achieved the desired purple hue.
- Cut a 0.5-1 inch deep hole into the center of each cupcake. Place lemon curd into a pastry bag or Ziplock equipped with a piping tip. Pipe filling into the center of each cupcake. If desired, replace some of the cupcake filling before piping on icing.